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Monday, July 14, 2008

BEFORE I HANG (1940)


Boris Karloff, condemned on a euthanasia charge, uses the weeks before his hanging to perfect his anti-aging serum – on himself! When his punishment is commuted to life-in-prison, he watches as time’s winged warrior backtracks . . . until those nasty side-effects start kicking in. Megger Nick Grinde pulls off a few noirish feints, but most of the film looks as blandly efficient & unstylish as episodic ‘50s tv. Watch for a neat scene where you expect Karloff to lose control as he listens to a friend playing Chopin. (Will he slam down the cover on his old friend’s hands?) And unlike Vincent Price, his successor in the horror genre who grew carelessly hammy over the years, Karloff continued to put a lot of thought & feeling into increasingly routine roles, honoring his craft to the extent circumstances allowed.

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